If Gilgit/Baltistan and Kashmiri territories were not under the control of Pakistan, today there would not have been the concept of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to say the least. Luckily, Pakistan does have control over these regions and through them it shares a border of approximately 325 miles with one of the largest countries of Asia and today’s emerging Economic Power, i.e. China.
Since its birth, Pakistan enjoys an incredible geo-strategic importance from all the spheres of its location. However, through history it is observed that relations with Afghanistan, India and Iran have not been that much friendly. Ironically, Pakistan has hosted more than 1,320,394 Afghan refugees. But still the political bitterness has remained a bottle neck for smooth relations between the two. On the other hand, China remains the only country with whom Pakistan has shared a relation of true bonding nature since late 1940s.
The China-Pakistan relation can be related to that of Yin and Yang. As Yin Yang theory describes itself as a kind which views things in relation to its whole. The theory of Ying Yang is based on two basic components, Yin and Yang are neither materials nor energy. However they combine in a complementary manner and form a method for explaining relationships between objects and how they complement each other. So is the relation of China and Pakistan. Pakistan completes China by extending its political, humanitarian and moral support to China and so does China. China has strictly followed its tradition of helping Pakistan and has mostly presented itself for the defense of Pakistan. Director of Research South Asia Democratic Forum, Mr. Siegfried O. Wolf pointed out “…Beijing is supporting Pakistan’s policy of fighting anti-state militants, especially those groups that could pose a threat to CPEC.” It can be said that both China and Pakistan play a vital role to balance each other in times of need whenever possible.
China-Pakistan friendship or what the ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Yusuf Raza Gilani described as ‘higher than mountains, deeper than the ocean, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey’ is not a very new thing to look upon. Instead it has travelled through a long journey. More than 21 Million Muslims are inhabited and practicing Islam in China since decades. A critic will argue that Pakistan’s official religion is Islam, by that reason it maintain sympathies for the Muslims of China living mostly in the western part of China i.e. Xinxiang, Tibet and Ningxia. Definitely religion is one of the factors of a bond between the two.
In 2009, on a radio interview, the then Ambassador of Pakistan to China, Mr. Masood Khan expressed the love of Chinese people towards Pakistani people. He emphasized on sharing the culture of both countries through exchange programs so that there is harmony and strength in relations. Even back then he pointed that Chinese people took interest in learning the National language of Pakistan, Urdu with immense interest and they used to practice it with Pakistani fellows who studied there.
Today after more than eight years, a clear transformation is seen in the relationship of both countries. People of both sides are learning from each other, traveling to and fro China and Pakistan, taking deep interest in each other’s culture, traditions, norms and values. It is thought provoking that China’s land area is really huge. Same is China’s population. It is massive. And for them China itself is enough to travel as a little percentage of it travels abroad.
Nevertheless, many Chinese families have moved to Pakistan and are traveling to Pakistan in huge numbers since Chinese’ Belt and Road initiative. This has given Pakistan an opportunity to mend any distrusts which might prove to be a barrier in good relations with the Chinese.
So far Pakistan and China both seem to be really excited and motivated to run brilliant bi-lateral relations along with other countries. Having the multi-billion dollars projects’ aside, Pakistan has opened itself to China as open as a real brother would for another. From micro to macro level, the ties between Chinese and Pakistani people would lift the shaky situation of South Asia. It will help stabilize the political and economic structure which will keep the region intact for the centuries yet to come.
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Naqash Munir, currently working at Muslim Hands International, is a former member of National Youth Assembly (session 2015-2016), Master of Science in International Relations and has apprenticed at Institute for Strategic Studies, Research and Analysis (ISSRA) and National Assembly Secretariat (Parliament of Pakistan).
You never seem worried, asked thee. I am a traveler, worries are just dull sceneries, said me.